living an authentic and consistent Christian life

During a recent interview, Pope Francis said “Without an abiding relationship with God, it is difficult to live an authentic and consistent Christian life.” This statement calls us to consider two important thoughts, one profoundly theological and the other deeply personal.

From a theological perspective each of us must evaluate and acknowledge the depth of our relationship with God. Toward that end we must ask how great is our faith, how strong is our belief, how complete is our dependency on His mercy and love. A faith without passion, without an aching desire, without an unquenchable longing for God is a faith that is dead.

Saint James tells us “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” [James 2:14-17].

Jesus responded to the apostles when they asked him to “increase our faith” with a parable of the master who commanded his servant to wait on him at table with these words “Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do’” [Luke 17:9-10].

Simply put, it is not enough to say “I believe in God,” for that requires nothing of you but rote memory and empty words. God demands more, much more. Doing all that is commanded of you will not win you any points; just dressing out and sitting on the bench will never win you the game ball. Your relationship with God is in direct proportion to the fervency of your faith and your fervor will only be as great as your willingness to do more than what is commanded.

To live an authentic and consistent Christian life requires you to make decisions that are incredibly personal and resolutely moral. God created each of us and gave us “free will,” the ability to make our own choices, whether they are good or bad, right or wrong. What is often conveniently ignored or dismissed in any discussion of “free will” is how one must take full responsibility for one’s choices. We want to be free to do anything we desire but refuse to accept responsibility for the consequences. We therefore seek the easy way out; we try our best — or worst — to avoid making a choice, to be agnostic, lukewarm. And God abhors the wishy-washy, namby-pamby, choice avoider. As Peter Kreeft says in Making Choices The state of soul that is farthest from great sanctity is not great sin but great sluggishness. Moral lethargy is more disgusting to God than wickedness. God said that, not me. Read Revelation 3:15:16.”

As Christians and children of God we have an obligation to “increase our faith,” to ardently search for and attain “an abiding relationship with God.” To know God you must love God fervently, passionately, completely; you must live your faith to the fullest.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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